Valencia CF21 February 2024

Juan Sánchez: "It is an honour and a source of pride to be the first Valencia CF academy graduate to make his debut with the first team after the inauguration of the Ciutat Esportiva in 1992"  

QUOTE: The former Valencianista player, the protagonist in L'Informatiu on VCF Media Radio

Juan Sánchez was the first Valencia CF youth player to make his debut with the first team after the official inauguration of the Ciutat Esportiva de Paterna in 1992. The player from Aldaia played with the first team in the 1992-93 season and after two spells in the Valencia CF shirt, he made history with the club, winning 4 titles: Super Cup (1999-2000), League (2001-02), League (2003-04) and UEFA (2003-04). Today, he was the protagonist of L'Informatiu on VCF Media Radio.

First academy graduate to make his first team debut since 1992

"It's an honour and I'm very proud. I didn't know until a few months ago when you told me, and I'm delighted. It's not easy when you're a kid to make your debut with the first team and play for Valencia CF, it's been many years since I joined and that's how it happened. The Ciutat Esportiva de Paterna was inaugurated and it was my turn".

Valencia CF career

"I arrived at the age of 12 after playing for Aldaia. My debut with Valencia CF was on 18 October against Barça at Camp Nou and my first game at Mestalla was against Burgos the following week. The debut was against the Barça of Laudrup, Stoichkok, Zubizarreta... imagine yourself on that stage when you looked at the stands and you couldn't finish the stadium. It was a tremendous illusion because when you are a child you don't think about what you can achieve later. Making my debut at Mestalla was impressive and impressive. I remember having a lot of nerves and I had a chance at goal that I missed and I was dreaming about it all night and for a few days. Youth takes its toll and in the first few games it's normal to be nervous".

First memory of the Ciutat Esportiva del Valencia CF

"I arrived when I was 12 years old at the old Ciutat Esportiva and the memory, I have is that it was a very extensive Ciutat Esportiva because there were 10-12 pitches, 3/4 of them on earth and then the spectacular turf pitches. That was 40 years ago. I also remember 'El Papi' who was already there with his van making sandwiches. 

I remember being very cold and taking 40 minutes to get there from Aldaia because you went through all the villages. Nowadays, young lads are prepared for other things, I came from the village and for me to enter a dressing room there was like a dream, like saying what am I doing here, how am I going to play here... all the memories are impressive". 

Upgrades to the Ciutat Esportiva de Paterna

"The Ciutat Esportiva has changed a lot. I started with the new Ciutat Esportiva when I was with VCF Juvenil A because when it was being built, I was with VCF Juvenil B and we played in Quart. Everything has changed: changing rooms, swimming pool, gyms, parking...".

Advice for young players at the VCF Academy

"That they don't waste a day of training, a match or a day of their lives thinking about scoring a goal at Mestalla. That's for the strikers. For goalkeepers, stop them and for defenders, avoid them. For midfielders, generate them. So, what I tell the boys is to work hard, to make an effort, to have a mentality, to take care of themselves in all aspects and that a lot of kids would like to be where they are. They have to obey and listen to the coaches, not think that the mistakes they make are the fault of the person next to them or the coach, but want to improve, perfect and be better every day and, above all, to know what I have good things and what I have to improve".

Juan Sánchez and Jose Manuel Tárraga 

"We have experienced many things in all this time. We played together in the youth team, then in the b team and first team. We also went together to RC Celta and now we have been together for 10 years in the representation company. It is a curious fact that he is next to me (debutants' mural). We have a whole life together".

Standout players

"There are many. For example, 'Mendi' arrived very young from CD Castellón and we were all surprised at how he evolved and became the great player he has been. Of my players, the ones I've shared the most with, Albelda too, of course, on a defensive level, in terms of hierarchy... Farinós too. Then there have been other very good players like Gayà, Paco Alcácer, Silva, Albiol... a spectacular youth system".

VCF Academy

There are times when the presence of youth players also attracted a lot of attention, in the era of Fernando Giner, Camarasa, Fernando, Arroyo, Subirats, Arias... that generation had great merit for what they did and then they remained in a very good period at the Club. Last year's generation also has a lot of merit because the team was in a critical situation and the youngsters came to the rescue and Baraja gave them that push and dared to field them. All of this reflects the fact that the youth system is there".

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